Somalia’s president to address nation as support crumbles

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s president will address the nation on Tuesday evening after two key regional states objected to his extended stay in office and the prime minister asked the country to prepare for elections whose delay had sparked gunfire between rival groups of soldiers in the Mogadishu streets.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed had not commented publicly since soldiers opposed to his controversial two-year extension took up positions in the capital on Sunday. Alarmed by the extraordinary sight and the clashes that followed, the United Nations, African Union, United States and others in the international community on Tuesday warned against the “emerging fragmentation” of the Somali National Army along clan lines.

Soon afterward, the regional states of Hirshabelle and Galmudug turned against the president’s extension in office and called for a return to talks on the national election that had been meant to take place in early February. Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has backed their statement.